Journalist Neha Dixit speaks at CPJ's International Press Freedom Awards on November 21, 2019, in New York City. Dixit has recently received death threats and an attemted break-in. (AFP/Getty Images/Dia Dipasupil)

Indian journalist Neha Dixit receives threatening calls, break-in attempt

New Delhi, January 27, 2021 – Indian authorities should thoroughly investigate threats made to journalist Neha Dixit and ensure her safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

At about 9 p.m. on January 25, an unidentified person attempted to break into Dixit’s home in Delhi, and fled when she went to investigate, she told CPJ in a phone interview.

Dixit told CPJ, and local outlets reported, that the break-in attempt followed months of threatening phone calls that included death threats and references to her journalism. Dixit said that she fears the calls and the break-in attempt are related.

Dixit is a freelance reporter who has covered politics, gender, and social justice issues for a variety of news outlets; in 2019, she received CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award, citing her work amid legal harassment and threats.

“Delhi police must do everything in their power to ensure journalist Neha Dixit’s safety, and swiftly apprehend those threatening her,” said Aliya Iftikhar, CPJ’s senior Asia researcher. “Dixit and other journalists should not have to fear for their lives simply because of their work, and threats made to them should be taken seriously.”

According to a police complaint filed by Dixit today, which CPJ reviewed, she first began receiving threatening calls in September 2020. The callers indicated that they knew her exact location at the time, referenced her work as a journalist, and threatened to kill her and her partner Nakul Singh Sawhney, according to that complaint.

She wrote in a statement that she feared she had been “physically stalked” since September due to the specific information cited in the calls.

The calls from unknown numbers continued since September, and Dixit received five to six calls a day in December, according to the complaint, which said that the calls seemed to be coming from two or three different people, and that she stopped answering most calls from unknown numbers.

When she did answer, the anonymous callers made sexual insults, death threats, and references to her current physical location; on January 9, a caller threatened her with rape and indicated that he knew that Sawhney was out of town, according to the complaint.

CPJ texted Delhi police spokesperson Eish Singhal for comment, but did not immediately receive any response.